Sunday, January 27, 2013

December / Early January Soaps

Wow - I can't believe I'm writing two blog posts today!  Since it's been so long since my last one, I guess there's a lot to catch up on.

First things first - here are pictures of the cut spa-type soaps I made in December.  They both smell so lovely (the purple is an EO blend my friend and I made and the green is a Bath & Body Works Coconut Lime Verbena).  They turned out great, and I can't wait to get them into my shower rotation :)

I really loved how the swirls turned out on the sides of the soap on this one.  However, there is no yellow on the actual bar of soap - I think the lighting is just wonky today with all the snow we're getting...

My parents went to a brewery a while back and bought a bunch of fruit beers (apple, cherry, raspberry, etc) and decided they didn't like them very much.  So, into the soap they go!  I didn't stick blend this one, because I wanted to keep it as smooth as possible.  I used the apple beer they gave me, added some silk, and a little cinnamon EO to round out the scent a little bit.  The apple scent from the apple beer comes through pretty strong still.  However, I think I broke my BB column mold on this one...

I was also inspired by the blogs by Great Cakes Soapworks on rebatching soap and decided to rebatch some scraps I had around as well as my first hot process disaster.  For the soap I made using the oil-heavy lavender hot process, I did not add any extra oil to the shavings, as it was still pretty soft, but I did add a half cup of castor oil to the "other" scraps.  They turned out pretty well - see below:
This rebatch was scented with a China Rain FO, and it's probably one of my favorite scents that I've soaped with so far! Love it. And even my husband loves it, too, which is odd, because I expected him to be more partial to the one below. 
This rebatch was scented with the Green Tweed FO from NG, and I love it, but I scented it a little light.  Would add more FO next time - it seemed to fade among the scents already in the scraps.
I really enjoyed these soaps, and I'm looking forward to making more beer soaps with the other beers my parents gave me.


Soaps with Milk

Long absence everyone!  I have spent the past month enjoying time with family and friends, some down time for myself, and a little bit of time sick in bed with the flu that's going around and other various winter diseases.

But now, it's back to the blog (and hopefully soaping!) Last fall, I experimented with some milks in my soaps.  I had heard all about how lovely and creamy they made the lather, and I wanted to check it out for myself.  The first soap I made with cream (about 90% of the liquids) was this Pumpkin Spice soap, also using pumpkin puree and BB's Pumpkin Spice FO.  

It was awesome (and still is).  I loved the smell, it lathered beautifully, and it smelled delightfully pumpkin-y and also spicy for the fall.  This turned out so well, that I next tried this Gingersnap soap with coconut milk - 100% of the liquids for the lye. 

The colors turned out more gray than brown, even though the swirl was nice, and these bars in my slab mold were HUGE!  They averaged around 7oz when cut...  But when I was mixing the lye with the coconut milk, it started to turn a little orange.  That's okay, I told myself, because I'd read about it happening on various forums, blogs and soapmaking books.  I probably just was adding lye too fast to the milk.  However, when I got the solution mixed in and started to mix the soap batter, YUCK - what is that awful smell!  That coconut milk smells burnt and horrible!!

I told myself it would probably go away over time, and it is a favorite of many friends and family.  After curing for about 4-5 weeks, I no longer noticed the smell of the burnt milk, and my nose was not offended by this soap any more.  Great!

Next, I tried cream again (the heavy whipping cream from the grocery store) to make a peppermint soap.
I was sure I had the hang of soaping with milks now, so I was even faster about adding lye to the soap and used 100% cream for the liquid in the lye mixture.  I added the lye to cold cream (not frozen), and before long, it turned a brilliant orange.  I was not worried, because it had turned out well in the past, and I was sure this time would be no different.  As I was soaping, I tried not to notice the horrid smell of sour, burnt milk.  It was terrible.  I scented with peppermint EO to cover up the milk smell, and let it cure.

The scent did fade over time, I noticed.  But last week when I went to get my hubby a soap for his shower, I picked up a tester I had made from this batch. (I made a second batch also with less milk, which smells much more pleasant)  Holy Hannah, did that smell sour!  I made my hubby smell, and he promptly threw the bar in the garbage.

I am worried about using milks in my soaps after this horrible experience, not knowing whether I am just very sensitive to milk now since I haven't been eating dairy lately, or if it was something I messed up.  I did a little research, asked some questions on the Teach Soap Forum, and got some answers.  

It seems that I probably used too much milk in the recipe, and I am likely sensitive to the milky smell.  I will wait for awhile before I'm tempted to try milks in my soaps again.

On a more positive note, though, I did find a fantastic winter recipe I have been using for the horribly dry and bitterly cold winters we have up here in Minnesnowta, and I will get pics and a blog about that shortly!

Hope you all are staying warm!